The future of the workplace

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| The European | 20 October 2020

A ground-breaking report uncovers how and why businesses can and should become more sustainable – and fast

Renowned environmental and sustainability expert, Dr Leyla Acaroglu, and top ten next generation employee experience platform and intranet provider, Unily, have launched the Future of Workplace Sustainability Report, which explores how sustainability, climate change and Covid-19 are shaping the future of the workplace.

We are living in a time of great and immediate change, and Covid-19 and climate change are just two of the most obvious forces impacting our way of life. Through trend analysis, employee surveys, expert interviews and case studies, the report highlights our ability, and also need, to rapidly transform the way we do everything.

The report is separated into three main sections, highlighting the six relevant megatrends predicted, the 12 micro forces driving these megatrends – and how they relate to the way and places we work – and a unique diagnostic toolkit for business managers and enterprises to assess where they are on their sustainability journey. This year Unily embarked on its own sustainability journey to actively review how they can do more as a company to reduce the impact of climate change.

Inspired to build sustainability into their innovation process, one of the aims of this report is to provide other businesses seeking to be more proactive in protecting the world around them with a framework for starting their own sustainability journeys, as well as leaving businesses optimistic about the future and empowering them to make meaningful, lasting change.

There is a clear motivation within Unily to build a business where sustainability is front and centre. As part of the report a survey was conducted with Censuswide* to establish and highlight how these global trends are affecting how employees feel about sustainability within the workplace. The result underscored the need for change with 83 per cent of respondents believing that their company is not doing enough to tackle these big issues. Likewise 80 per cent of respondents say their company’s environmental values are either not aligned or only partially aligned with their own. Even for those looking for job opportunities, 65 per cent of those surveyed were more likely to work for a company with a strong environmental policy.

63 per cent of respondents would also like to learn more green skills to become more valuable in the workplace, highlighting the demand from employees to play a more active role in making their business more sustainable. Jo Skilton, Chief Customer Officer at Unily, commented, “Covid-19 has been a real catalyst for change, and transformation globally. We have spoken to many companies over the years, keen to change how they work, but they have never “had to” change before, so COVID-19 has accelerated that “need to” change. Within our own digital workplace sector our employee engagement platform, Unily, allows for a streamlined and smooth transition for our clients to enable employees to work from home, but we wanted to understand the real impact of such accelerated change. We are proud to have partnered with Dr. Leyla Acaroglu to help us understand how we can make a difference. We are at the beginning of our journey and want to help businesses like ours find answers to start their own path to play a more active role in protecting the world around us for future generations.”

Dr Leyla Acaroglu, explained, Ways of working have changed dramatically over the last 100 years. From farming to factories to technology and now services, we live in an age of rapidly evolving disruptions to where, how and why we do work. We wanted to create this report with Unily in order to provide answers for the changes and challenges that this decade will bring for business. Every organisation will be at a different stage, as this report highlights the ways to engage with sustainability and multiple opportunities to lead through these complex times. The most important thing is getting started, and this report will support you in gaining the insights and advantages of establishing a journey towards a sustainable workplace.”

The key take-outs from the report include: The 2020 Unily Sustainability at Work Census:

*As part of the report, 2,000 UK based office workers, from graduate entry level jobs through to Senior Manager level, were surveyed by Censuswide in August 2020. Respondents were asked their views on sustainability trends within their workplace. Some of the key findings were:

  • 65% of respondents are more likely to work for a company with a strong environmental policy
  • 72% of office workers are concerned about environmental ethics
  • When asked to what extent they feel their company is fighting climate change, 83 per cent of respondents felt their company is not doing enough or could do more
  • 63% of those surveyed would like to learn more green skills to become more valuable in the workplace
  • 80% of office workers said their company’s environmental values are either not aligned or only partially aligned with their own.

Megatrends

These are the massive cultural shifts that unfold in real time creating identifiable patterns that can be observed and interacted with as they emerge and evolve to affect society at large. There are several societal level megatrends that are affecting the ways we work and the types of business models that will be successful in the future. These include elements such as climate change adaptation, transition to the circular economy, resource scarcity and worker and supply chain equity and the zero waste movement.

Forces for Change

The Covid-19 crisis is emerging entirely new ways of working, living and doing business. Before this, the foundations for massive disruption were already being laid out for businesses, with several forces of change playing out including Climate change, 2030 Global Goals, The Green Recovery, the 4th industrial revolution towards tech and the global health crisis.

The Diagnostic Toolkit

This toolkit has been designed to help you assess your current sustainability and climate-positive journey so that you can take action. It helps establish where you are right now, supports your sustainability journey towards getting started or progressing further, and helps frame a strategy you can employ to enhance your sustainability and climate-positive journey within your organisation.

Pre-register for you copy of the report here.

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